The telescope has been inoperable since August, when a major cable broke. In November, a second cable broke and multiple engineering companies declared that safety in and around the telescope could not be guaranteed. Now astronomers’ fears for Arecibo have come to pass. No one was injured.
Heartbreaking news. After 57 years as a world-class resource for astronomy, the iconic Arecibo telescope is to be decommissioned, or withdrawn from service, the NSF announced today. The dish-type radio telescope – built into a natural depression in the landscape in Puerto Rico – appears to be headed for a “controlled disassembly.”